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A Hero's Journey: As Told


by precious_katuch14

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This is the story of a hero. Not me, but I’m in the story, at least?

     It’s been a family tradition to have a knight from every generation. You already know Sir Reynold, who fought in the Meridell wars, mentored many knights who are still in service today, and of course, had two sons he raised to follow in his footsteps.

     The firstborn was me, your dear old dad. I believed I would inherit my father’s sword, and become the next warrior in the family. That is, until my little brother was born and totally ruined my life.

     Don’t tell Rohane that. On second thought, he already knows that. Heh. Well, it doesn’t matter, because he’s the hero in this story.

     Father taught us swordsmanship, hand to hand, even stuff like reading, writing and arithmetic, lessons you need to become a good little page, before you become a good little squire. I can’t remember why Father never took Rohane and me to the castle to learn there. Maybe he wanted us to stay with Mother, maybe he just wanted to spend more time with us here at home.

     I do remember that I hated Rohane for picking up fencing faster than I did. I was so jealous of him that I was always trying to one-up him, until one day I went too far, and we got into trouble. I should never have been jealous of my brother. I should’ve realized that there was nothing wrong with both of us carrying on Father’s legacy.

     Unfortunately, we would carry Father’s legacy sooner than we thought.

     After the Meridell wars, Ramtor usurped the throne from King Skarl and set himself up as king. Sir Reynold, of course, left home to fight against him and lead the knights to victory. Except that…he never came back, and Ramtor remained on the throne for several more years afterwards. Your grandmother was…well, getting the news broke her heart. Rohane and I helped hold her together, and did odd jobs to support her even as she cooked for the village and raised some vegetables in the backyard. This was supposed to be the part where we eventually move on from our loss, but…

     I’d say it’s a long story, but you probably already know this will be a long story.

     Rohane decided to go and avenge our father’s death, and try his luck challenging Ramtor when older, more experienced knights have failed. As much as I wanted to join him, I had to stay with Mother. I had to find a job I could do that wasn’t just helping the villagers fix up their gardening tools and weapons. So, Rohane left Trestin and took his first steps toward becoming a hero. We’ll come back to him later.

     But first, we’re getting to the part where I met your mother. Don’t give me that face, Darel. This is absolutely part of the story.

     Turns out I’m still making bad decisions, like going after Rohane because I wanted a piece of the adventure. And fame. Mostly the fame. I snuck out of our house and left, but rain messed up my plans, and I wound up trapped in a cave.

     That’s where I met your mother.

     Andrea was travelling with her family – her aunt Olivia, her cousin Omar, and their friend Devin. You know Grandaunt Olivia, that Purple Lupe who can read the future through nature, and her son is your Uncle Omar. Uncle Devin kinda just wound up as part of their family.

     Andrea didn’t just lose her parents to Ramtor. She lost her little brother, Ben, to some bandits – and those same bandits were headed for Trestin to raid it. I was now at a crossroads – do I continue my quest to catch up with Rohane, or do I go back and protect Trestin? My mother was there, as were many of my friends and neighbours, so, of course, I went back. Andrea and everyone else helped, we saved your Uncle Ben from years of living the outlaw life, and…oh yeah, this is Uncle Rohane’s story.

     He travelled to White River, which is northeast of Trestin, but unfortunately, the bridge was up, and the only way to bring it back down – I don’t know either how the controls were jammed or why there were no other bridges – was to defeat this crazy mage named Zombom. Rohane had to go on that journey alone, face all the monsters in the way – but he made it. He really did.

     Then he met a wizard named Mipsy. Together, the two of them trekked across Meridell to Meridell Castle, faced Ramtor, and chased him down to his tower lair. They managed to do what several knights and other travellers could not do, which was defeat Ramtor and restore King Skarl to his throne. The king recognized Rohane and Mipsy, and gave them a whole ceremony and all.

     But it wasn’t just them. Sometime after that, Skarl invited me to the castle so I could be knighted for my great and obviously heroic deeds in Trestin, because not only did I teach those bandits a lesson with my knives – no, don’t try this at home, at least not until I’ve taught you properly – but I also helped rally the folks against the bandits to drive them out of our village. Maybe I could catch up with Rohane there, right? Then we could have a tearful brotherly reunion and fill each other in on all the heroics we’ve been doing.

     I was wrong. Too bad, because Rohane could’ve been knighted then and there.

     Rohane and Mipsy had decided to travel to Terror Mountain, where the Snowager went missing. I don’t know how a huge ice worm could just go missing like that, but this is Neopia, anything can happen. Well, obviously there was no following them now.

     King Skarl wanted to knight me, but at that oh-so-important part of my life, I decided I didn’t want to be a knight anymore. Instead, I wanted to become a swordsmith. I was finally content to let Rohane take the glory and the spotlight. And he clearly should have the spotlight back in this story.

     While at Terror Mountain, Rohane and his new friend tried to solve the mystery of the missing Snowager. Along the way, they met Talinia, a ranger who was also tracking the Snowager. Together, the three of them travelled the winter wonderland in search of clues until they got to the Lost Caves, which was where the Snowager was. Too bad nothing is ever easy, as they had to battle Scuzzy, this giant furry Mynci who had trapped the Snowager. And at this point, I thought maybe Rohane could retire from being a hero and pursue the knighthood he always dreamed of.

     Nope, Reuben is wrong again! I have a bad track record with these things.

     Andrea and her family came to help me with my new weapon shop and smithy. At that time, I got a couple of letters from Rohane telling me they were in the Lost Desert. This time, the place was being ravaged by endless sandstorms. I don’t know how he and the others could stand it; sand gets everywhere. But anyway, their quest this time was for the Medallion of Wind, an ancient artefact said to control the weather. Here’s the problem: it was broken into pieces and scattered all over the desert. Something about it being too powerful to be kept in one piece for long and when it’s not needed. You get the idea. It’s a treasure hunt except that the treasure is like a puzzle you still have to solve.

     I got worried about Rohane and decided I would travel to the Lost Desert just to see how he was. Andrea volunteered to accompany me, and she really made the trip more bearable. By the time we got there, the sandstorms had stopped at last, but not without cost. When we found Rohane, he was unconscious for three days. Apparently, he had taken a magical blast from Anubits to shield his friends.

     As if I wasn’t already worried enough.

     But he was fine. All of them were fine. I was fine. We thought the journey was over, until we found out that it was eternally daytime in the Haunted Woods. The sun wouldn’t set, some weird magic was at work, and so Rohane, Mipsy, Talinia, and Velm embarked on their next adventure, and I had to say goodbye to my little brother again.

     Except this time, there would be no more trips to find him. I understood my place. He understood his. Your grandaunt gave some very good advice.

     Just as I understood that my place was in Trestin, I lost touch with Rohane from there until they marched into Faerieland. I have a very funny story about Rohane and his friends infiltrating a masquerade party in Neovia, and stories about the training master he met while in the Haunted Woods, but I’ll tell those some other night…or nights.

     After bringing back the darkness to the Haunted Woods, they faced another usurper – Terask, a huge Draik who had taken over Faerieland and who had managed to defeat Queen Fyora herself. Don’t ask me how, something about a lot of dark, ancient magic.

     There was a prophecy – a prophecy Terask thought pointed to Father as the one who would undo all his hard work. Terask was said to be destined to rule Faerieland, but a Blumaroo from Meridell would end his reign. Turns out, the prophecy foretold that Rohane would bring about Terask’s downfall. And bring about the downfall he did. He and his friends, Queen Fyora’s soldiers and the resistance…it was a happy ending, all things considered. Finally, Rohane could return home and receive the knighting he wanted.

     And that’s the story of a hero’s journey. A very long, winding journey, and we’ve reached the end, for now. Good night, Darel. I’ll tuck you in.

     * * *

     I took a deep breath and leaned back in my seat. Before I could get up for a drink of water for my parched throat, I felt a tug at my shirt. Darel looked up from his bed; his deep brown eyes had a way of staring into my soul.

     “Dad?”

     “Hmm?”

     “You’re a hero too.”

     I paused, staring back at him. It was as if a cool breeze had suddenly blown into the little Red Kyrii’s room. Then I smiled. My shoulders relaxed.

     “You took care of Grandmother. You make swords and bows and knives, to help others fight. You looked out for Mom.” Darel smiled back; I wondered if he would say anything about how goofy my smile probably looked. “And…you always keep us safe.” He reached out to encircle his arms around my waist, hugging me tightly. “I love hearing stories about Uncle Rohane and everything he’s done for Neopia, but…you’re my favourite hero.”

     Oh.

     Though I was rooted to the spot, I could feel my spirit soaring into the night sky, exhilarated and happy to be free. I had the urge to yell, “In your face!” at Rohane the next time we saw each other, but I probably shouldn’t.

     “Thank you, son.” Leaning down, I ruffled his mane and kissed the top of his head.

     I guess this story was my story, too.

     The End.

 
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